The Fighting Maroons triumph against Blue Eagles in a historic do-or-die UAAP Finale

by: Jeb Garganera || Photo Credit: Inquirer

The UP Fighting Maroons shut down the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ hopes of a four-peat in a fiery do-or-die basketball game at the UAAP finals. 

After three suspenseful games, the UP Fighting Maroons ultimately dominated the court against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, winning 72-69 in overtime in the do-or-die Game 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena on May 13, 2022.

With a sliver of a second remaining, JD Cagulangan delivered a cold-blooded, step-back three — demolishing the Ateneo Blue Eagles championship three-peat run and finally ending the University of the Philippines’ 36-year title drought. 

Malick Diouf, the Finals MVP, led the Maroons with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Ricci Rivero had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals alongside Cagulangan’s 13 points. Ateneo’s SJ Belangel clinched two free throws with 56.7 seconds left, before the Maroons’ CJ Cansino replied with a clutch triple at the 47.8-second mark, leading the scoreboard into 59-59 and forcing overtime.

Gian Mamuyac of Ateneo turned into a man possessed, draining two massive threes in the extra period, the second coming from the corner at the 1:47 mark for a 69-64 lead. Despite this, UP knotted the game at 69 with 39.7 ticks left after Diouf’s dunk and Cagulangan’s wild three. This game-winning triple spoiled SJ Belangel’s 27-point performance. The step-back jumper will be remembered as one of UAAP history`s best moments. 

While Ateneo had built up an amazing run, it was UP that peaked at the right time. Indeed, the two teams have raised the bar high for Philippine college basketball.

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